A Clean Slate

Going Into The Closet

Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of cleaning out my clothes closet.  Please assume a complete tone of sarcasm when reading the prior sentence.  Sorting the clothes in my closet has been a project of avoidance for an exceptionally long time.  Why?  Because I hate the way my clothes closet makes me feel…like I am falling apart and barely holding it together which is an accurate assessment of most of my leggings.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Second to the above feeling of inferiority is the complete aversion to clothes shopping as I despise changerooms.  Just think how difficult it is to hold yourself to the image of a leggy, slim, graceful woman when faced with bulging reality under the harsh, sallow-hue producing, fluorescent lights of a changeroom complete with floor to ceiling mirrors.  Give me delusion any day…remember, it’s all about perspective.  😉  

As an aside, wouldn’t it be in most stores’ interest to provide lighting which is gentle and perhaps a digital mirror?  A soft dimly-lit change room linked to imaging-editing software would do wonders for their bottom line.  Current changerooms are like the end of an evening at the night club when they throw the lights on and the cold water of reality hits your makeup-long-since-gone celebratory self.

Accepting What Is

Nevertheless, the title of my blog is about acceptance, and in my 40s, I am continuing my quest to achieve acceptance in all areas of my life including my clothes.  Acceptance to me is to meet yourself where you are, say “Self, you are enough” and be the best kindest version of enough that you can be for that second moment.

Acceptance this month means to face head on the challenge that is my clothing, and after sorting, emptying and donating, I was pleasantly surprised how painless the process generally was…but I hadn’t gotten to the shopping part yet.   I was surprisingly ruthless with no more hope of fitting into that mini skirt again one day which tells me my acceptance work has made progress.

Growing Up

Without saying it out loud (writing doesn’t count…this is therapy), my goal over the next few months is to elevate my wardrobe to the level of a 45-year-old woman with transitioning children…not a stay-at-home mother of toddlers.  Long gone are the days of someone wiping their nose on my shoulder, and the excuse for permanent residence in leggings and a sweatshirt is wearing thin.  Though in my defense, my son did use my sweatshirt to dry his hands yesterday when he could not locate the tea towel so may not be an entirely invalid wardrobe choice.

Photo by Cut Collective on Unsplash

Upon completion of clothes sorting, the monumental challenge hit me. A very sorry selection of clothes encompasses my current wardrobe.  Some beautiful pieces but without the accompanying bits to put an outfit together.  Big problem areas were my one belt that looked like it had been tasked with a job too great for its capabilities and some unfashionably ragged jeans.  I foresee a future involving many a changeroom. 

When beginning new projects, it’s always wise to start out simple which in my current mind frame is underclothing…specifically bras.

To be continued…

Anyone else have a particular clothing item that has seen better days, yet you still have an aversion to throwing it out?  I surely can’t be the only one resewing my leggings until they are see-through.  Hey wait, then they’re footless tights! 

The Man In The Red Shirt

Anxious Tendencies

“Does anyone in your family suffer from anxiety?”  This question was asked during one of my children’s mental health assessments years ago. Catching me off guard, I answered decidedly “No.”

I have since boned up on my knowledge of anxiety. 

The American Psychological Association’s definition of anxiety is: An emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

Going back in time, I would decidedly change my answer to yes…most of us…on both sides of the family… going back generations.  We are anxiety-ridden group of amazing people.

My response to the therapist now would be “who doesn’t…narcissists?”

The Walk

On my daily morning walk along the river yesterday morning, I released my two pooches from their leashes to run in unbridled freedom through the green field on our usual route.  While M the Rottie usually listens very well, my little L (Beagle/Jack Russell mix) has a price on her listening skills and will only return when called if she knows you’re packing treats, but not when a rabbit pokes its head out of the bramble or of she catches the scent of something tantalizing…usually dead.   I will only pause to say that the fall salmon run is hell on dog walkers.  Think heaven for dogs…a beach filled with salmon carcasses in various stages of decay…and hell for the owner who futilely calls for her dogs to stop rolling on them all.

I wish I could say this was me with my lovely hat and superb wardrobe, but alas is not.
Photo by Oanh MJ on Unsplash

Enter The Man In The Red Shirt

Entering the lush green field, I catch sight of a gentleman in a red tee shirt on the other side of the field making his way across.  Immediately, anxious thoughts fill my head…should I leash the dogs now?  It’s quite far away though so I still have time.  Will L listen when we get closer or will she completely ignore me.  I give a practice call, and they both come running.  I give them a pat and let them run free a bit longer. 

Trying to gauge the direction of the red-shirted walker while simultaneously scanning for distractions such as rabbits for L, I pause my podcast so I can focus my full energy on ruminating.   I still cannot make out where the gentleman is heading, but I am thankful that he is wearing such a bright red color so visible amongst the green.  We continue our walk edging our way around the field with me keeping an eye on the dogs and the man. 

Leash Manners

Now, my dogs are not a threat to people.  They will keep their distance if they don’t feel like being social, but I know that not everyone loves dogs…even other dogs don’t always love dogs.  If it is a dogless person/people, I will leash my dogs or if there is another dog on leash, I will leash my dogs.  Another dog off leash though is fair game, and my dogs will happily exchange greetings in the inappropriate manner of all canine species.  For many this would hardly be an issue to fret about, but being a chronic pleaser, I like to be thoughtful, and the idea of not being thoughtful makes life very stressful for me. I also have a deep-seated fear of being yelled at…also a part of my chronic people pleasing quality.

Facing Anxiety Head On

After anxiously ruminating on the best time to garner control of my beasts, the gentleman disappears.  I keep my eyes out, and this occupies my attention for the better part of our walk around the field.

Nearing the spot where I had last spotted the red-shirted man, I scan the area and discover to my surprise a bright red post…not a man.  I had spent most of the walk ruminating about whether my dogs would bother a red post which they totally would have if we had walked closer to it…christening it with their charm.

Red Posts

After laughing at myself, I got to thinking about how many things I get ruminating about which turn out to be red posts.  From matters involving my children and husband to adopting the worries of my family and friends, I fully invest myself in being anxious for myself and my loved ones about matters which in hindsight end with a fizzle.

It is a quality I’m working hard to change because often what causes anxiety is my lack of trust in one’s ability to roll with life’s challenges successfully, and when I question that distrust, I know it to be false. Everybody I know and even myself has proven again and again that we have ability to take on life’s challenges and become more resilient in the process. Being aware of the pricelessness of time and whether I want to spend it ruminating on potentially red posts (and they’re mostly all red posts) is a possibility that always bears reflection.

Oh, and that it is time to make an optometrist appointment.

My Red-Shirted Man

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting control of it.

– Kahlil Gibran